What Are The Causes Of Bed Wetting?

 Causes and Types of Bedwetting

First, let’s understand the main types of bedwetting. The first type of bedwetting is primary, and the other one is secondary.

Primary bedwetting simply means that the child constantly wets on the bed for an extended period.

Secondary bedwetting is where a child starts bedwetting out of the blues. In secondary bedwetting, the child starts bedwetting after being dry for approximately five to six months.

More often than not, secondary bedwetting indicates the presence of an underlying health condition.

Causes of primary bedwetting – 3 Explained

Some of the factors that lead to primary bedwetting are:

A small bladder:

Some children have a small bladder that is incapable of holding a lot of urine for a long time. In turn, they end up wetting the bed.

Deep sleeper:

Children who are heavy sleepers are more likely to wet the bed. This is because they are unlikely to feel the urge to urinate when they are in a deep sleep.

Poor bathroom habits:

Some children don’t respond to the urge to urinate immediately. They hold in urine when they are not supposed to do that. Such children end up bedwetting at night.

Causes Secondary Bedwetting – 4 Explained

As mentioned earlier, secondary bedwetting can indicate underlying health or mental problem. So, the causes of secondary bedwetting are different from those of primary bedwetting. They include:

  1. One of the most common signs of secondary bedwetting is urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infection often causes a frequent urge to urinate. Thus, a child experiencing this problem will wet on the bed.

If you suspect your child has a urinary tract infection, take them to a health expert. A urinary tract infection can get cured using medications.

  1. Secondary bedwetting can also result from diabetes. Diabetes causes an increase in sugar in the blood, which in turn leads to frequent urination. Take your child to a pediatric expert if they experience secondary bedwetting.
  1. Another cause of secondary bedwetting is an abnormality of the nerves and organs. At times, the bladder nerves do not function properly. As a result, your child won’t feel the urge to urinate. This increases their chances of bedwetting.
  1. Suppose your child is undergoing a stressful situation; they are more likely to wet on their beds. Children get affected by the slightest lifestyle changes.

It could be moving into a new house or starting school. So, always try to maintain a comfortable environment for your children. Statistics show that children who are physically or sexually abused wet their beds.

Is bed wetting hereditary?

People often believe that bedwetting is a health problem. But this is not always true. Bedwetting is perfectly normal, especially for children under the age of seven.

Based on previous statistics, only 1% of children who wet their beds had underlying health conditions. Pediatric experts report that bedwetting is typically a developmental problem.

So, most children outgrow this stage with time. Even so, it is essential to note that many factors could lead to bedwetting.

A good percentage of health experts report that bedwetting is inherited. A large percentage of children who wet the bed had parents who did it too.

Children are also likely to stop bedwetting at the same age either of their parents did. Bedwetting is perfectly normal for children. Most children are likely to stop on their own.

Bed-wetting in adults

Most people tend to think that bedwetting only happens to children. But this is wrong. Some adults wet their beds. In such scenarios, this is most likely caused by an underlying health condition.

Let’s take a look at some of the causes of bedwetting in adults. But first, note that you have to seek medical help when you wet the bed as an adult. You may be suffering from nocturnal enuresis.

Causes of bedwetting in adults – 4 Explained

High amounts of antidiuretic hormone:

Typically, the antidiuretic hormone is responsible for reducing the amount of urine produced at night.

So, if you have a low ADH level, your kidneys make more urine than usual. And this can make you wet the bed as an adult.

Occasionally, diabetes interferes with ADH levels; thus, the kidney ends up making more urine. When you see a doctor, they will give you medications to regulate the production of ADH.

A small bladder:

At times, your bladder may not be able to hold all the urine produced by the kidneys. In such scenarios, urine can leak. If you think you have this problem, consult a health expert immediately.

Overactive bladder (OAB):

Usually, the muscles of your bladder squeeze when you want to urinate. If you have an overactive bladder, these muscles squeeze unnecessarily.

This can make adults wet the bed. Doctors treat overactive bladder using certain medications, so ensure you seek medical help.


Generally, some medications make your bladder inflamed or irritated. Some of these medications are sleeping peels, Risperdal and clozapine.

When your bladder gets inflamed, your bladder fails to regulate urine. And this can lead to leaks.

How Do You Treat Bed-Wetting? 7 methods explained

Aside from giving you medications, your doctor may suggest incorporating certain practices into your lifestyle.

Train your bladder:

Try your best to train your bladder. Set aside specific times during the day where you relieve yourself. Do this at night. As each day passes, try increasing the time between washroom visits. Doing this boosts the strength of your bladder and increases its capability to hold more urine.

Avoid alcohol before bedtime:

Alcohol increases the production of urine. So, it would be best to avoid alcohol before going to bed. Additionally, avoid drinking caffeine and chocolate. These fluids can irritate and stimulate your bladder, hence increasing your chances of wetting the bed.

Use an alarm clock:

Use an alarm clock to wake you up in between the night so that you can go to the washroom. Doing this prevents you from wetting the bed. If you are a deep sleeper, request someone to wake you up.

If an alarm clock does not work for you, try using a bedwetting alarm. A bedwetting alarm system requires you to attach it to your underwear. It goes on when it detects moisture. Most people report that bedwetting alarms are more efficient than regular alarm clocks.

Take the proper medications:

Health experts usually prescribe desmopressin to prevent adult bedwetting. This medicine lowers the production of urine in the kidneys. Other medications used to prevent bedwetting are imipramine and tolterodine.

Before taking these medications, ensure you get a prescription from your doctor. Also, if these medications don’t seem to work, your doctor is likely to prescribe other treatment options. They include:

Bladder augmentation:

If your bladder is small, your doctor is likely to recommend a bladder augmentation procedure. This procedure involves expanding the bladder to increase the capacity of urine it can hold.

Sacral nerve stimulation:

Your doctor can also prescribe sacral nerve stimulation if you have a problem with your bladder nerves. Typically, your doctor inserts a tiny device into your body. This device helps in regulating the flow of urine.

Detrusor myectomy:

A detrusor myectomy is a surgical operation that helps in fixing an overactive bladder. During this surgery, the doctor removes all the muscles around the bladder that contract during the wrong time.

How to manage bedwetting 

Before you get better, several techniques can help you manage the situation. Some of them include:

  • If you know, you are likely to wet the bed, spread a waterproof cover to protect your mattress from urine. Doing this will keep your mattress dry at all times.
  • Ensure you wear absorbent underwear when sleeping. Also, consider wearing urine pads.
  • Use specific appointments and lotions to protect your skin from getting inflamed or irritated from urine.

The bottom line

Bedwetting is usually expected in children. There are many factors that could lead to bedwetting in children. But mainly, bedwetting in children often results from deep sleeping.

Fortunately, there are specific techniques that can help you control bedwetting in your children. Health experts advise being patient with your child. Never scold your child for wetting the bed; instead, encourage them to incorporate certain lifestyle practices that will help them stop bedwetting.

However, note that bedwetting in adults indicates an underlying health condition. So, consult a health expert if you wet the bed as an adult. They will advise you on the best way to resolve this problem.

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